My fears were borne out when it came time for Fatah to speak. He launched into a blistering--and, frankly, somewhat unhinged--tirade, patting himself furiously on the back for his own bravery in coming to speak to Jews (he was warned not to, he told us), and advising Jewry, among other helpful suggestions, to:
- not send their kids to Jewish schools;
- vote for the NDP;
- not worry about Iran, because it poses no threat whatsoever;
- worry about Pakistan, which presents the gravest and most palpable danger;
- flee from Republicans and other "right wing Nazis"--yes, those were his words, and to a Jewish crowd, yet--like the plague.
I must say the entire incident left me feeling embarrassed, both for Fatah, who seemed ill and off his game (has his cancer returned, perhaps?), and for conference organizers, whose heads and hearts are in the right place, but who erred--big time--in their choice of honoree and panelist.
Update: I received this via e-mail from Mark Vandermaas:
re: Tarek Fatah incidentThank you to Scaramouche for covering this issue.Last evening I sent out an email to my mailing list saying this in part:----------
I have received a number of (very supportive) emails from people who were present and Mr. Marinov's post is being re-posted on other sites, so I think it necessary to post my own response at IsraelTruthWeek.org because, not only do I think the incident raises some important issues that go to the heart of what I hope to achieve with ITW, I would like to make sure you know that the CIJR people (and many others) were very kind to me before, during and after the event and it would be a shame if their great work was overshadowed by Mr. Tarek's odd behaviour. I hope to have that response posted sometime tomorrow or the following day since I have a busy day ahead, including making a 4 hr round trip to the Israel consulate to rally for Israel at 6pm. (Please do consider joining me/us.)-------------I would also like to thank Miroslav Marinov at Blogwrath.com for his very factual, well-argued article and for taking the time to transcribe the audio.Controversies like this are never easy to deal with and I appreciate the even-handed, insightful manner he has approached this.